Mohammed Shwani

Co-Founder & Executive Director

Mohammed grew up in the multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk in the midst of Iraq’s conflict. Mohammed experienced different forms of violence from losing family members to the war and enduring explosions that hit his school. The lack of access to a proper education encouraged Mohammed to teach himself English at age 12 and learn from online resources. In 2016, the U.S. Department of State selected Mohammed to participate in its Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP). During the program, Mohammed met participants from across Iraq and the U.S. Inspired by his experiences in Iraq and IYLEP, Mohammed co-founded NMUNA with other participants to provide opportunities for Iraqi youth to improve their skills and engage in peace-building. 

Mohammed also serves as International Programs Coordinator at Soran University, where he bridges the university and students to opportunities abroad. He is currently managing a grant project, funded by the US Department of State and administered by IREX, to create partnerships with US institutions and introduce global citizenship curriculums to students and faculty. The grant will also support hosting Iraq’s first Model United Nations conference for college and high school students. Mohammed has previously worked with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) as Policy Advisor and Assistant to KRG Coordinator for International Advocacy and as a Diplomatic Intern at KRG Representation in the United States. Mohammed is an alumnus of Yale Global Scholars and Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program. He is a graduate of United World College in Mostar and is currently enrolled to complete his studies in politics at Bates College.

AJ Braverman

Co-Founder

AJ Braverman was born in Vermont. He has a deep interest in environmental justice and the climate crisis. Driven by the global scale of the climate crisis and the need to engage youth, he founded and organized Stowe High School’s Model UN. In 2016 he attended the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program in 2016 where he met Mido and co-founded NMUNA. The idea for NMUNA was inspired by Mido and AJ’s shared interest in international politics, a vision for a Model UN curriculum that treats important issues with the gravity they deserve, and the forum for the discussion that Model UN can provide. Since Co-founding NMUNA, AJ attended Brown University where he studied public policy. He currently works as a political organizer focused on addressing racial, economic, and environmental injustices at a local level.

Tara Shwani

Secretary General

Tara Shwani is the Secretary General for the National Model United Nation’s Association (NMUNA). She is responsible for the Secretariat and staff of the conference and as the head of the Secretariat, she will supervise and mentor the committee chairs as necessary, work with them to develop committees background guides, and assist them in running the committees during conference sessions.

Tara is a graduate and alumni of the American University in Iraq, Sulaimani (AUIS), she has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a double minor in Economics and Gender Studies. She started working and engaging in various organizations like CDO, Arche NoVa and CGDS as a student. She later became the MENA Community Liaison at the Center for Gender Development and Studied (CGDS) and was responsible for the outreach between AUIS and other universities in the MENA region. She is currently working as a Program Associate at The International Republican Institute (IRI) in Baghdad and a part of her work is to encourage and increase civic engagement and awareness around political participation and voting in the elections. Tara is passionate about academia, gender, politics and economic policy making and she is always keen to change the perspective of the youth especially females on the latter by encouraging community and youth engagement in such profound matters in the society. She is also an alumnus of the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program (IYLEP).

MIROSLAV SHAPOVALOV

Director of Model UN Curriculum & Training

Miroslav Shapovalov is the Director of Model UN Curriculum & Training. He is responsible for the conference program and leads NMUNA’s design of Model UN training program which prepares staff and participants for the conference. His experience in academia and public policy making contributes to our continuing work with IREX Higher Education Program to improve higher education in Iraq.

A Doctoral candidate at University of Central Florida, Miroslav works as a researcher at Kurdish Political Studies Program at University of Central Florida. His areas of research include Eastern European Politics, individual conflict participation, and combatant recruitment. Prior to that, Miroslav taught courses at UCF and worked for non-profit youth NGOs as well as policy-related think-tanks. His long-term goal is to apply his knowledge and practical skills as an educator to reform the higher education system in his home country of Belarus.

Lano Diyari

Outreach & Liaison Officer

Lano Hassan is the Outreach & Liaison Officer for National Model United Nations Association. He coordinates engagement and outreach with the youth and local community, academic institutions, civil society organizations, and government. Lano started to actively engage with his community 6 years ago through volunteerism. Ever since, he has taken part of different local and international organizations. He is passionate about education, helping others in finding their passion and support them throughout the journey. 

Lano is one of the founders of Next Phase where he helped expose hundreds of young people to volunteerism through charity work and dialogue sessions. He has also worked with youth from across the world as Digital Program Facilitator with World Learning. Lano is also passionate about public health policy in disadvantaged and improvised communities. He is currently completing his studying in biomedical science at American University in Iraq- Sulaymaniyah (AUIS) and he is an alumnus of Iraqi Young Leadership Exchange Program (IYLEP). 

Kareem Dizaye

Communications Officer

Kareem Dizaye is a Law student at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, where he has received the Hiwa Foundation Scholarship for his outstanding academic performance and contribution to the community. He is an IYLEP alumnus and was the Secretary-General of NMUNA’s Erbil Model UN. Kareem has worked closely with World Learning to promote leadership and exchange programs, working both as an Alumni Advisor for IYLEP and a Digital Community Facilitator with The Experiment Digital. He has a wide background in civic engagement and has also represented Iraq and the Kurdistan Region at the United Nations Youth Assembly in the United States. He is interested in education, policy-making, and youth advocacy where he actively provides guidance to his peers and encourages them to develop their skills and boost their emotional intelligence.

IT Officer

Anwar is a software developer and a student at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, majoring in Software Engineering and is aiming to attain a minor degree in International Studies as well. He has been part of NMUNA since 2016, having participated in NMUNA programs as a delegate in Kirkuk as well supporting the organization of ErbilMUN at American Corner. Anwar reflects his experience with Model UN and passion for web design to create an accessible platform for NMUNA audience.  

Anwar spent two years at the North Oil Company in Kirkuk. His work there has made him passionate about energy policies and he wishes to highlight the issue in NMUNA’s sessions and Model UN discussions.

Danar Abdullah

Logistics Officer

Danar Ibrahim is the Director of Career Development Center (CDC) at Soran University). He manages program to support students’ preparedness for the job market through personal and professional development. Hunders of students have benefited from  an internship program that Danar introduced to match students with potential employers. 

Danar is Soran University’s contact person on ground and will provide logistical support in organizing the 2021 National Model United Nations conference. Danar holds a Masters of Arts in English Literature from Soran University where he also received his Bachelor degree.